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New spirituality strategy set to launch

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is to launch a new strategy which aims to make sure the spiritual needs of its service users are met while also helping faith communities to better support people with mental health problems.

The updated Spirituality Strategy will be launched at an interfaith conference, called Breaking Down Barriers, which has been organised by the Trust, East of England Faiths Agency and Healthwatch at Quay Place in Ipswich next Wednesday (16 November).

It has three main aims, which are to:

•    make sure that service users and carers have an opportunity to discuss their spiritual needs as part of assessment and care planning;
•    support the spiritual needs of Trust staff; and
•    work with faith communities to strengthen their capacity to support people with mental health problems.

Over the coming 12 months, chaplaincy staff will work with service users to understand their spiritual needs so that appropriate services can be provided. Special spirituality workshops at the Recovery College will continue, while Trust staff will be trained on how to speak to service users about spirituality while making sure their needs are met.

Bespoke training will also be organised for faith communities, as well as a conference to help raise awareness of mental health issues.

Kate Holmes, Chaplain/Spiritual and Pastoral Care Lead with the Trust, said: “This updated strategy carries the message that spirituality is a broad concept which is inclusive and accessible to all, and in which equality comes first.

“The strategy encourages staff to listen to what service users say matters to them while also respecting the faith beliefs of everyone at the Trust, whether they are a patient, carer or colleague.

“In addition, it also shows how we will work with faith communities to improve understanding of mental illness and reduce stigma and build their capacity to help.”

The impact which the strategy has had will be measured with a survey in 2018/19. ​